Traders call for policing of Epworth

Ian and Jeanette McConachie
Ian and Jeanette McConachie

Angry traders in Epworth have demanded more police and improved security measures after thieves targeted a number of High Street businesses.

Several shops were targeted in one night by raiders in what one shopkeeper described as a ‘wrecking spree.’

Traders said police used a taser-style stun gun to apprehend a suspect, but police denied any weapon had been discharged,

Michail Harm, 41, of NE1 Menswear said: “There was a complete wrecking spree on the High Street and Fountain Court. Many shops were damaged. The police told me they used a taser to make an arrest.”

Mr Harm said he has been left £2,500 out of pocket following a recent spate of shoplifting and break-ins.

He moved to Epworth with his wife, and children 18 months ago. But he thought about leaving the town following thefts and damage to his shop. Mr Harm has now installed his own CCTV.

Ian and Jeanette McConachie live next to the five-star fish and chips business they run in High Street and were woken early in the morning by a racket outside their window.

Mrs McConachie, 56, said: “A man was shouting help me, help me, and a woman seemed to be screaming abuse. We peered out and there was a riot van and police everywhere.

“Since we moved here eight years ago we’ve had our windows repeatedly broken. There’s been fire-bombings.

“We’re so used to alarms going off we don’t usually move from bed to look out. We need a police presence and we need CCTV cameras.”

Mr McConachie, 54, said: “This town is going to pot. We’re not even allowed security shutters because it is a conservation area. I’ve spoken to town councillors about the problems.

“We also thought about forming a traders’ association but it seems difficult to get something like that off the ground.”

Kim Williams, 53, of Serendipity, was one of the traders whose business was damaged in the latest incident.

She said: “Trouble is seeping in to small towns. We all increase our own security but it would be good to get some back-up from the authorities. The costs always fall back on to us.”

Other traders admit they are considering moving due to crime and nuisance. They claim that police only direct resources at bigger towns.

A Humberside Police spokesman said a man was arrested in connection with the latest incidents which happened on March 12. The 23-year-old was charged with four burglaries - three in Epworth and one in Westwoodside.

The force added that a stun-gun was not fired but it was “possible tasers had to be drawn during the arrest.”